Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three News Items

Did you see the cover of People Magazine? Normally I'd add a few more question marks and some exclamation points. But I'm serious. Valerie Bertinelli is on the cover.

I have to confess that I've always had a little thing for Valerie Bertinelli. Well, not a little thing. A normal-sized thing. Not necessarily average-sized, but within the range of normality. Like my height. Not freakish -- just tall. So my thing for Valerie: I wasn't obsessed, not slobbery. No shrines. I've just always had a bit of a something for her.

I saw her once in a French restaurant on Franklin by Bronson, La Poubelle (The Trashcan), back in early '76. Sort of wish I'd chatted with her. Then she married that hippy for 20 years. And she got fat, which doesn't, frankly, conform to my standard of ideal human beauty. But I always remembered. And now here she is again, 48 and fabulous!

I want to have sexual intercourse with her.

On a related note, during last night's press conference Obama said, musingly, reassuringly, "OK. No, I think it's ... I think it's a legitimate question." This, of a query posed to him on the morality of embryonic stem-cell research. He said it to elequently reassure America and the assembled reporters that he was open to hearing uncomfortable, boorish questions from enemies of his positions. You know, cuz there's really a lot of debate about whether the other side should be allowed to have its opinions, let alone ask probing questions during press conferences.

As you will know, there is already an enemies list.

On a related note, a recent study offers insight into why toddlers have trouble following directions. "Take your jacket when you go out to play," says mom. But the three-year-old rushes out without taking the jacket. Disobedience? No. They process information differently. To understand what they should do, they have to depend on their very limited experience. They can't generalize the past into future consequences. It's only after they've rushed out, and are shivering in the cold, that they remember the jacket, and go get it. Remember, it was only a couple of years ago that they learned that an object didn't cease to exist as soon as it was out of sight. You can't ask more of them than their development allows. The job of the parent is to help them avoid catastrophes -- help them live long enough to mature into our expectations. As for the rest of it, it's not so much disobedience as a learning process.

When my son was three, he'd spray himself in winter with icy water from the hose, gasping and huffing and hysterical with joy. He'd race out naked into the snow, and I'd find him there, laughing and giggling and blue. I'd just have to laugh too, "You little maniac," and warm him up against my carefully-bundled chest.

Now he has a website -- he's involved in fitness training, himself functioning at an elite level -- and he's posted a digeo of himself and some others doing a workout. I took a look at it last night. The camera wasn't close, and I couldn't identify him until he started doing pullups. Then I recognized his broad back.


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